The history of the Lancia Flaminia


The Lancia Flaminia is a luxury car from the Italian automaker, Lancia, built from 1957 to 1970. It was Lancia's flagship model at that time, replacing the Aurelia. It was available throughout its lifetime as saloon, coupé and cabriolet. The Flaminia coupé and cabriolet were coachbuilt cars with bodies from several prestigious Italian coachbuilders. Four "presidential" stretched limousine Flaminias were produced by Pininfarina for use on state occasions.
There were 12,633 Flaminias sold over 13 years. Unusually in the automotive world, coupés outsold the four door saloon, despite the higher prices of their coachbuilt bodies.
The Flaminia was named after the Via Flaminia, the road leading from Rome to Ariminum (Rimini). This respected the established Lancia tradition of naming individual models after Roman roads.
The Flaminia's chassis was a development of the Aurelia's, but was significantly upgraded. The front suspension was changed to an independent set-up. This upgraded configuration incorporated double wishbones, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers, and an anti-roll bar. The rear suspension retained the De Dion setup, with a transaxle mounted at the rear as in the Aurelia. Initially, the Flaminia came with drum brakes: discs were substituted after the first 500 or so cars had been built.
The original two bodies of the Flaminia were developed by Pininfarina and modelled after his two Aurelia-based motor show specials, named Florida. The Florida I, presented at the 1956 Turin Motor show, was a saloon with suicide doors. The Florida II, presented a year later at the Salon International de l'Auto in Geneva, was a coupé, and became Battista Farina's personal car of choice. The production version of the Lancia Flaminia appeared in 1957.
The Flaminia's engine was an evolution of the world's first V6, which was introduced in the Aurelia. It had increased bore and decreased stroke, and a much bigger displacement. The engines were mounted longitudinally, powering the rear wheels through a 4-speed rear-mounted transaxle. A version with increased displacement was introduced in 1962.
The saloon version of the car was generally designated by the Italian word for this body style, Berlina. Designed by Pininfarina based on the Florida I prototype, this was the only body to be built by Lancia themselves, as well as becoming the only body to last through the entire production period. There were 3,344 Berlinas built with the 2.5 L engine (102/110 bhp specification), and additional 599 with the 2.8 L (128 bhp). They were assembled at Lancia's old facility at Borgo San Paolo as the last model to be built there.
The Coupé was also penned by Pininfarina, and built by the coachbuilder. It was very similar to the Florida II prototype with a 2+2 layout. Like all other 2-door versions, the Coupé had a shortened wheelbase relative to the Berlina. The front end of the Coupé does not differ from the Berlina majorly, but the headlight frames are completely round, whereas they point slightly upwards in the saloon. 5,236 Coupés (4,151 with the 2.5, 1,085 with the 2.8) were built until 1967.
Carrozzeria Touring designed and built these aluminum bodied two-door versions, which can be easily distinguished by their four round headlights (rather than two on Pininfarina Flaminias), and a shorter cabin - the wheelbase was decreased significantly for the GT and Convertibile, allowing for only two seats to be mounted. The GT was a coupé, while the Convertibile was obviously a cabriolet version (with optional hardtop). The GTL, introduced in 1962, was a 2+2 version of the GT with a slightly longer wheelbase. The Convertibile was in production until 1964, with 847 made in total (180 with the 2.8), while the GT and GTL lasted until 1965, with 1718 GTs and 300 GTLs made (out of which, 168 GTs and only 3 GTLs with the 2.8).
Lancia Flaminia Sport ZagatoThe Sport was built by Zagato, and was also a two-seater. It used the same shorter wheelbase chassis as the GT, and had a very distinctive rounded aluminium body with pop-out handles. The Super Sport replaced the Sport in 1964, with the introduction of the 2.8 L 152 bhp (113 kW) engine. The first Sports had flush covered headlights, later changed to more classic round ones. The Super Sport also saw some changes - the rear was updated to a Kammback, while the front was made more aerodynamic with distinctive tear-shape headlight casings. Until 1967, 593 Sports and Super Sports were built (99 Preseries, 344 Sports, 150 Supersports).
When in 1960 Queen Elizabeth II announced her visit to Italy, President Gronchi commissioned Pininfarina to deliver four stretched Lancia Flaminia limousines to appropriately service the visit (and also renew the dated presidential fleet). The cars were built in a record time of 6 months to a detailed specification, with the assistance of General Motors with regard to various electric extras. They were seven-seater landaulets, painted dark blue, with black Connolly Leather upholstery, Voxon radio and Pirelli tyres.
This model was officially called 335 (due to its 335 cm wheelbase), and was also referred to as Presidenziale or Quirinale (after Quirinal Palace, the residence of the President of the Italian Republic). Individual cars were called Belsito, Belmonte, Belvedere and Belfiore. President Ciampi donated one of them to the Museo dell'automobile in Turin, and kept the other three in occasional use.

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